SASKATOON – Second-year guard Julia Marshall (Langley, B.C.) sunk a pressure-filled free throw with just eight seconds left to lift the Trinity Western University Spartans to a 69-68 win over the No. 6-ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies Friday night on Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court at the PAC.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game, a 66-60 Huskie lead disappeared as third-year Spartan Sarah Buckingham (Surrey, B.C.) dropped two 3-point makes as part of an 8-0 Spartan run to force a Saskatchewan timeout with under a minute remaining.
Second-year Summer Masikewich tied the game up with a layup out of the timeout, shortly before committing a foul to put Marshall on the line. Marshall split the free throws, giving the Huskies a chance to win it with the final possession. But Masikewich's shot at the buzzer fell just short and the Spartans escaped with the win.
With the victory, the Spartans improve to 12-3, while the Huskies drop to 13-2. With 12 wins on the season, the Spartans equal their program record for wins in a season, which TWU set last year after posting a 12-8 mark. The victory also clinches a playoff spot for the Spartans.
The win marks the first time the Spartans have ever beaten the Huskies in Saskatoon and is just the fourth time in 20 meetings all-time that TWU has earned a victory over Saskatchewan.
Fifth-year Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) led the Spartans with 19 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Buckingham chipped in with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Jessie Brown (Langley) also had 14 points.
With 13 points, TWU's Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.) surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career. Ratzlaff is the third Spartan to surpass the mark this season alone, as Gordon and Brown recently went over 1,000 points.
Third-year Saskatchewan standout Sabine Dukate led all scorers with 22 points, two assists and two rebounds. Masikewich provided 13 points and seven rebounds.
Gordon and Buckingham blew up early in the third, recording 11 points in two and a half minutes to tie the game 45-45. Fifth-year Madeline Humbert's free throw to end the quarter gave Saskatchewan a one-point lead heading into the fourth, 55-54.
The Spartans shot 43.1 per cent from the field on 58 shots, while the Huskies shot 38.1 per cent on 63 shots. Saskatchewan out-rebounded TWU 36-30.
TWU Head Coach Cheryl Jean-Paul
"Tonight's game was a big one for us in terms of what we are trying to achieve this season, but also in the statement our program is working towards. All week we've been talking about playing against the best to see where we stand and the team really took that to heart. We have so much respect for the Saskatchewan's program and what they've been able to accomplish over the years, so it means a lot to us to be able to match them tonight.
"Tomorrow will also be an education, but every game has had a lesson to teach us about where our gaps are, the importance of sticking to our game plan and competing at the highest level from tip-off. If we are able to do those things, then the game takes care of itself."
• The win is Jean-Paul's first-ever against the Huskies. She had lost her previous nine meetings with the Huskies.
• The loss snapped the Huskies five-game winning streak.
• Since a loss against UBC Nov. 17, TWU has posted a 7-1 record.
The Spartans and Huskies play the rematch Saturday at 4:15 p.m. (PT) in Saskatoon.